RogerBW's Blog

September 2015 Trailers 01 October 2015

Some trailers I've seen recently, and my thoughts on them. (Links are to youtube.)

Concussion: the One Man who Heroically Told Pro Sports what… they'd known all these years. Well, he refused to shut up about it, which is heroic I suppose; but American football is still being played, and the film can't make the bad guys look too bad because they're still in business and could sue. (I gather it was toned down several times during production.)

Knock Knock: oh noes, good suburban family man, don't help out those Hawt Babes, they will seduce you and destroy your life. 'Cause they are Evil. Madonna-whore much?

Paper Planes: unappealing children (including a globose comic-relief kid) learn to make paper planes. Woo. Kidvid that appears to hold no appeal for adults, at least this one.

Trash: interesting setting, but looks a lot like a generic hunt-the-McGuffin plot.

The Danish Girl: the problem for me is that I find stories of discovering one's sexuality and identity essentially boring. I need to care about the people, and the trailer never bothers to build any sympathy for them.

Macbeth: the "gritty" style of Shakespearean adaptation, with lots of stabbing. Fassbender and Cotillard are generally excellent, so I have some hope for this, though Kurzel is a very new director.

The 5th Wave: well, I'm a sucker for a good disaster film, but it does need compelling characters. If this is just going to be Two Kids In Lerve, that's not so compelling.

99 Homes: OK, so there's a real problem. But by painting it in terms of individuals, the One Evil Capitalist who's responsible for everything, you remove any consideration of systemic pathologies and replace it with one man who can get beaten up, blackmailed, or whatever. You allow yourself to think "well, I am not an evil man like that, so clearly my small part in contributing the problem isn't anything to worry about". This is why I think film rarely works well for serious issues: reducing it to individuals makes it much easier to film but less effective.

The Beauty Inside: I love it when Korean film gets weird. Fantasy, obviously, but enjoyable fantasy that isn't just a retread of the same old ideas.

The Lobster: whereas this seems more self-consciously weird and thus less interesting. Great cast though.

Lady In The Van: I am supposed to care about a fictional version of Alan Bennett. In an adaptation of a play written by him. Two strikes against it, even if Maggie Smith stars.

Our Brand Is Crisis: what these foreign politicians need is a white… woman. OK, so that's a slight variation on the standard White Saviour story. Might be amusing, but it has a long way to climb.

Demolition: What a man truly needs in order to find himself is a Dead Wife. And a Manic Pixie Dream Girl, obviously.

Krampus: not to be confused with Love the Coopers from last month. You can tell them apart by this one's attempt to hybridise the schmaltz with a disaster/horror film.

The Hallow: does this have anything original to say? It looks like a highlight reel of horror film tropes from the last fifty years. Of course that may just be what the guys who made the trailer want you to think, because there are some horror fans who actually go for that.

The D-Train: I don't care what happens to these people. I can't even muster enough dislike to hope an asteroid hits them.

Pay the Ghost: the Cagemeister does a decent job of frothing when the kid is taken, but after that? Really, the only reason I'd watch this is for some scenery-chewin' action, and if that's toned down this film has no reason to exist.

The Program: Lance Armstrong's "fall" was probably shocking to the two people who didn't already know that every competitive cyclist is doped to the eyeballs. Every year needs a new record, and we long since moved beyond what unenhanced humans can do. Meh.

Colonia: when the trailer doesn't know what genre to put it in, that's often a sign of an interesting film. An excellent cast too.

In the Heart of the Sea: olde-timey maritime action. The whale is narked, and it wants revenge. Remember when Jaws was made to growl?

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2 "Prim" Trailer: I've already mentioned the film, but I'm commenting on this trailer because it seems to me that it's a massive spoiler for the book. Is the audience expected to know the book already, or not to care?

Point Break: like the original, only bigger and stupider. You know, we can just go out and buy/rent the original. Why would we pay more for this instead? I know, I know, because it's bigger and stupider.

The Young Messiah: more Christsploitation, with one of those scary blank-faced child actors (they're rarely good anyway, but when they're brainwashed into Real, True Christianity they're even worse). What a shame Sean Bean can't play Jesus; that way he could die at the end.

I Smile Back: a woman is mad, but might rather be mad than doped-and-happy. Well, that's original. Would be shooting for the Oscars, but it's only getting a limited release.

Burnt: another film about a would-be famous chef. Are those a thing now? I guess so.

Heist: looks utterly generic. But a heist film always looks generic; the point is in the twist, and you can't put that in the trailer. Maybe the twist is that it turns into an action flick instead.

Meadowland: doesn't tell us much about what's going on. Psychological disintegration? Well, fine, as long as you have more to say about the characters than "played by Olivia Wilde".

The Big Short: doesn't make 99 Homes' mistake, but will it generate sympathy for these guys who see the crash coming and decide to profit off it?

The Peanuts Movie: there was more to Peanuts than comedy of embarrassment aimed at Charlie Brown. But these are the people who made Ice Age and Rio, and are proud of having done so.

Angry Birds: I'm sure this has some reason to exist but it's currently eluding me. Do the kids who might pester their parents to pay for this film even remember the game that's so post-trendy it's even fallen out of the mainstream media?

Truth: probably works better if you have any emotional connection to Dan Rather, which as a non-American I don't. And as the defining episode, they're choosing a load of sound and fury which ended up making no difference to anything. So, um? News is dead, and truth has been replaced by truthiness?

Nasty Baby: put all the standard drama bits in the box, shake them up and pull them out in a new configuration. Yay, an original plot. Or something.

Back in Time: a mixture of "how did we come up with Back to the Future" and "how has it resonated in popular culture since". I'm more interested in the former than the latter, but this still looks promising.

Blood Moon: it's From Dusk 'Til Dawn only now the setting is explicitly the Wild West rather than the modern echo of it. Looks quite enjoyable, actually.

Daft Punk Unchained: I'd rather listen to the music, or read about the band, not watch about the band. But may well appeal to people who aren't me.

The Revenant: a very human sort of horror, it would seem. I haven't been much of a fan of Iñárritu's work but if he can get away from the self-conscious artiness and just make a good film then this might be decent.


  1. Posted by Dr Bob at 08:32pm on 12 October 2015

    I saw Trash a few months ago and enjoyed it. Less 'hunt the McGuffin' than 'murder the people who may have inadvertently seen the McGuffin'.

    Mockingjay Part 2 doesn't actually seem to have ANY shots in it from the movie that it is trailering. All those scenes are from the earlier 3 movies.

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